Thursday 19 September 2019

More than 23 developers still getting six-figure sums from Nama - a €2.3m annual bill

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Ken Foxe

Nama is still paying developers' incomes averaging €100,000 each year, at a total annual cost of €2.3m.

Some 23 developers are still receiving incomes from Nama, with the highest earner receiving €195,000 a year.

Three more get an "allowance" worth €180,000 annually, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information act by the asset management agency.

Altogether, the 23 developers - who manage sites on behalf of Nama - received an average €100,000 each.

Of those, 10 received a six-figure salary, with one on €133,000, two getting €120,000, another on €110,000, and two developers paid €100,000 each.

The latest figures also list 13 developers who are in receipt of annual allowances worth less than €100,000.

Nama said the payment of allowances to "debtors" was part of its efforts to get the best possible financial returns from its loans.

The figures come just a day after the Irish Independent reported on the scale of land owned by Nama that could be used to tackle the housing crisis.

The agency has enough land available to build some 66,000 family homes.

A Nama spokesman said: "[We have] consistently stated since 2010 that, where [Nama] is able to work with debtors, arrangements agreed with debtors are more cost-effective for the taxpayer than the alternative of appointing external asset managers or receivers.

"It is also a more efficient approach as debtors are very familiar with the assets under their control."

In an information note accompanying the figures, Nama said it technically did not pay "salaries" to the developers, as it was not their employer.

It said that in certain cases they allow "debtors" to keep part of the income from their profit-making assets to pay overheads for the "preservation and enhancement of the value of property securing its loans".

It said these overheads generally covered costs for repair, maintenance and insurance premiums, local authority rates, and professional fees.

"These costs may include an allowance for the remuneration of debtors and their staff to manage their assets," it said.

"This occurs in cases where the agency decides that this is the most cost-effective option in terms of maximising the return for the State in line with Nama's statutory objective."

At its peak around 2014, the asset management agency was paying €11m in allowances to 134 different developers, with three of them receiving more than €200,000.

Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh defended the costs involved at the time, saying it would be much more expensive to appoint receivers, who would then appoint an asset manager.

The agency also rejected some proposals, with one developer famously looking for a €1.5m annual salary back in 2010.

"The jets, the yachts, the Bentleys will not be supported by Nama," said agency chairman Frank Daly at the time.

Irish Independent

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